Some images to help you understand the dense character of Bayonne's Secteur Sauvegardť and the beautiful, light-filled character where portions of the building have been demolished to open the area around the beautiful historic stairwells.

Bayonne aerial photo
Aerial view of the center of the "Secteur Sauvegardť". Image courtesy of Ville de Bayonne, Direction de l'Urbanisme.

Bayonne Lots & Parcels
Bayonne Secteur Sauvegardť, typical floor plan of a typical city block, consisting of many long narrow buildings fronting on the surrounding streets with many rooms that receive no direct or indirect sunlight or natural ventilation, contrary to contemporary building codes. White colored rooms have direct sunlight (windows). Green colored spaces are within the stairwells. Gray colored rooms have windows that open into the stairwells (either open air or covered with skylight). Pink colored rooms have no natural light (no windows). Image courtesy of Ville de Bayonne, Direction de l'Urbanisme.

Bayonne Facades
A typical street front in Bayonne. This particular group of buildings faces onto the town market, one of the few open spaces within the historic center.

An example of an interior stair that has been opened up. The glass wall now opens into an exterior courtyard and a small bridge at an upper level provides access/egress for two dwellings on the other side of the courtyard. Rooms were demolished to create the open air courtyard. Click on "Read More" to see more staircases.

Some additional examples of restored and opened stairways.

A beautiful 19th century spiral staircase.

Early stair courts were covered by a solid shed roof and daylight by clerestory windows on one side. In the 19th century, many of these roofs were replaced with glass skylights. This stairwell shows both periods of construction.

The building abuts a narrow passageway (a "Ruelle"). Rooms between the stair and the ruelle were demolished and the ruelle wall was converted into a glass wall, creating a light-filled covered stair court.

This image and the one below are the same courtyard. Note the solid roof to protect the historic wood staircase below, the modern facade of an infill and the wide open courtyard between the two staircases.

Elevators open onto the stairwell, sometimes only to mid-landings. Building occupants sometimes leave bicycles and strollers at the bottom of the stairwell. A second door/grill by the entryway helps prevent occupants from storing motorized scooters in the stairwells. Garbage is collected every morning in the street. The city has a strong public transit system, consisting of buses and smaller buses, called Navettes, that reduce the need for a car and also provide connections between shared parking lots and residences.